Dejan Kulusevski latest: Antonio Conte tipped to turn back on agreed Tottenham signing amid alarming claim

Dejan Kulusevski, Cristian Romero Tottenham v Southampton

Antonio Conte is being tipped to surprisingly ditch Tottenham’s long-standing plans to sign Dejan Kulusesvki, despite already having a deal in place, according to one pundit.

The North London side are upwardly mobile under the management of the Italian. After recently celebrating a year in charge at Spurs, they are through to the last 16 of the Champions League and are fourth in the Premier League despite Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Liverpool.

Indeed, Jamie Carragher, for one, certainly rates their prospects of securing a top-four berth once again.

Moulding the side his way, Conte has made a number of astute signings since taking the helm at Spurs. Indeed, he made a total of eight summer signings, with Richarlison at £60m the most eye-catching addition.

It was back in January, though, when Conte first began re-shaping his squad. With days left in the winter window, Spurs brought in both Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur from Juventus, with the pair both quickly establishing themselves as key players.

Sweden winger Kulusevski certainly caught the eye. Signing on an initial 18-month loan, Spurs have the option to make the move permanent at any of the three intervening transfer windows before the loan arrangement ends. However, the longer they delay taking up that option, the more it will ultimately end up costing Spurs.

Impressing with five goals and eight assists last season, it seemed just a matter of time before his move was made permanent.

However, this season, the player has not quite been as effective with a hamstring injury curtailing his progress. He made his long-awaited return from injury though on Sunday, having not featured since the end of September. Coming on to warm applause after 68 minutes, he immediately set up Harry Kane to score a fine goal.

Conte tipped to pass up on permanent Kulusevski transfer

There remains some questions though if the 22-year-old will recapture the very best form that lit up his first five months in England.

As such, pundit Frank McAvennie claims that Conte could pass up on the opportunity to make his move permanent.

“It depends how bad his injury is,” McAvennie told Football Insider about Kulusevski.

“He was doing alright and now he has got an injury. No club is going to give you a contract if you might not come back the same player. I feel for him because by all accounts he was quite happy when he was playing.

“I know Conte has his ways but he is still a top manager and one that I would like to play for. He demands the highest standards which is great. Conte won’t authorise a permanent deal if he is not fit.

“So it might be a blow for him to go back to his parent club but no club is going to pay money because anything can happen. He could break down again. Conte will know what to do and will give the thumbs up or down.”

Transfer U-turn would be a surprise

The capture of Kulusesvki was seen as a real coup for Spurs when Fabio Paratici negotiated his move from Juventus. In fact, the Swede had been linked with several other sides before moving to the Lilywhites.

He very quickly adapted to both Conte’s tactics and the rigours of the Premier League. And while competition is tough for places in Spurs’ attack, he will likely get his chances over the course of the season.

Indeed, his assist on Sunday served as a perfect reminder of his abilities. Hugely-popular among the supporters, he now has one goal and four assists from eight Premier League appearances so far this season. As such, the perceived drop-off in standards is evidentally not there.

And with Conte a huge admirer of the player and needing a big squad at his disposal, it would come as a huge surprise were they not to trigger his permanent signing.

That, though, will likely come at the of his loan agreement. That is due to end on June 30, 2023, and by then, we fully expect the club to have triggered their option to make the signing permanent.

With Sweden failing to qualify for the World Cup, Kulusevski can use the break in the season to work on his fitness. And he will very much be back in contention for Tottenham when their season resumes on December 26 against Brentford.

Before then, though, Spurs face Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup and Leeds in the Premier League. As such, Kulusevski will hope to build on his cameo outing against the Reds on Sunday.

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